Sierra Leone Telegraph: 29 December 2014
Although there are twelve treatment beds set aside at the Kerry Town Ebola centre for international health workers diagnosed with the virus, it is understood that the British nurse did not report, nor was she suspected of Ebola symptoms before travelling out of Sierra Leone.
The British government’s policy clearly states that any British health worker who contracts the virus in Sierra Leone, will be treated by the British military team at Kerry Town.
The female patient, who arrived at Heathrow airport on Sunday on board Air Maroc via Casablanca, has been admitted in an isolation unit at Glasgow’s Gartnavel Hospital, following her arrival in Glasgow from Heathrow.
Although she is not thought to have been a risk to other passengers on board the flight, health authorities in Scotland say that they will be tracing and contacting all passengers who travelled on the flight.
Plans are now being made for the patient to be transferred from Scotland to the state of the art Royal Free Hospital in London, where British nurse Pooley was successfully treated after contracting the virus in Sierra Leone in August, and was airlifted to London.
Pooley had since returned to Sierra Leone, following his recovery in London. (Photo)
Eleven of the Sierra Leonean doctors that have so far contracted Ebola, have sadly died of the virus, whilst over 200 health and ancillary workers have also been killed by the disease, since July 2014.
More than 10,000 people across the country are believed to have contracted the virus.
Despite strong accusations of serious under-reporting, the government says that, since May 2014, 2,345 people have so far died of Ebola.
The Koroma government has failed woefully to provide credible leadership and experience of public health crisis management in tackling the virus, as the vacuum of co-ordinated strategy gets wider.
Today’s news of another British health worker diagnosed Ebola positive, brings into sharp focus, the continuing high risk faced by those trying to combat the disease in Sierra Leone.
Responding to this latest development at a news conference in Glasgow, the Scottish First Minister -Nicola Sturgeon said that; “Apart from other passengers on the flights and obviously the hospital staff since this patients admittance to hospital, she, the patient is thought to have had contact with only one other person in Scotland since returning to Scotland last night and that person will also be contacted and given appropriate reassurance.”
Sturgeon also said; “Our first thoughts at this time must be with the patient diagnosed with Ebola and their friends and family. I wish them a speedy recovery.
“Scotland has been preparing for this possibility from the beginning of the outbreak in West Africa and I am confident that we are well prepared.
“We have the robust procedures in place to identify cases rapidly. Our health service also has the expertise and facilities to ensure that confirmed Ebola cases such as this are contained and isolated effectively minimising any potential spread of the disease.
“Scotland’s NHS has proved it is well able to cope with infectious diseases in the past, such as swine flu, and I am confident we will be able to respond effectively again.”
The Chief Medical Officer for England – Dame Sally Davies, said that; “The risk of the general public in this country (UK) catching Ebola remains very low. However, we still estimate that there could be a handful of cases in this country over the coming months.
“The NHS is very well prepared for Ebola and the requirement for screening at selected ports of entry is being kept continually under review.”
Spokesman for NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde – Alisdair MacConachie said that; “She’s being managed in an isolation facility by staff who are comfortable managing patients in such a situation. She herself is quite stable and is not showing any great clinical concern at the minute.”
A telephone helpline has been set up for anyone who was on the Heathrow to Glasgow flight. The number is 08000 858531.